Phyllis Schneck, a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Ariz., was among those killed in the shootings on January 8, 2011, that left six people dead and 14 injured.

Schneck’s pastor, the Reverend Andy Ross, described her as “vibrant, fun, and a devoted woman of faith. Her smile, her commitment to the mission of Jesus Christ, and her friendship to so many will long be treasured.”

Ross continued, “From all of us at Northminster to all of you – we offer our hope and commitment to live as Christ's disciples, advancing his Kingdom of peace and healing, hope and salvation, with God's divine help, and with all of you. God bless you!”

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders issued a statement today in the wake of the shooting tragedy.

Elder Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and Elder Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council, expressed anguish over the shootings and horror over “this kind of assault on public discourse.”

Bolbach, Parsons, and Valentine also encourage all Presbyterians to join President Obama’s call for a moment of silence today at 11:00 EST.

The full text of their statement: 

We join with millions of people in this nation and worldwide who are horrified and anguished by the shootings in Arizona two days ago that resulted in such critical injuries and loss of life.

We are also horrified by this kind of assault on public discourse. Freedom of speech and assembly are foundational to who we are as citizens of this nation. As people of faith, we condemn violence and hatred and are committed to respectful civic engagement.  

We encourage all Presbyterians to join in prayer with the President of the United States’ call for a moment of silence today at 11:00 a.m. EST, “to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”

Presbyterians have already been reaching out in this incident through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and de Cristo Presbytery. A community worship service is planned for today in Tucson, and additional assessment and follow-up will be ongoing.

The Psalmist writes,

For you are the God in whom I take refuge ...
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling …

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (from Ps. 43)